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Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

A Life less Ordinary

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

Life this week was less ordinary. Our shoot with Brendan and Vanessa of Mineheart was full of deception and guile, rooms that seem to disappear in to the distance were just the result of cleverly placed trompe l’oeil wallpaper, and what might have been an undiscovered fresco by Leonardo da Vinci was in fact a charcoal drawing by Vanessa. Mineheart will be exhibiting in the SuperBrands section of Tent during London Design Week 19-22nd September at Old Truman Brewery – go and see them if you can and look at the wonderful King Edison light bulb with a chandelier inside the bulb – now there’s a bit of magic.

Mineheart's Kind Edison pendant light

Mineheart’s Kind Edison pendant light

Then there was the late night session at the south London home of extraordinary designer Yasemen Hussein, a power packed lady with a boundless supply of energy and enthusiasm. She sculpts metals rods in to amazing wigs and body sculpture, crowns, collars and cuffs and lives in a small flat above her studio but, there is a mystical garden where she has made an outdoor sitting room and dining area. We were joined for the shoot by hair and make-up artist Jessica Mary Cheetham who made the end of Yasemen’s welding bench in to a make up table . ( and the hair piece being put in place was an epaulette for a piece worn by Katie Perry!)

Make up artist Jess Cheetham at work in a forge

Make up artist Jess Cheetham at work in a forge

The final shots of the evening took place around a banqueting table that could have come from a Peter Greenaway movie – thanks to Yasemen and her Freind Bev who took her to Waitrose for all the fruit and flower props. And also thanks to RE  Found Objects who sent down Arsenic glasses and faux pewter plates from Corbridge to add a touch of splendour to the night

Hussein's feather sculpture chair

Hussein’s feather sculpture chair

The banquet gets underway with Yasemen looking elegant in a red velvet dress and crown

The banquet gets underway with Yasemen looking elegant in a red velvet dress and crown

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A French interlude

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 at 11:28 am
The Joy of Stanstead

The Joy of Stanstead

Monday morning at Stanstead, in text contact with photographer Alex James. “Will meet you at Ryanair check in desk”. An hour later “Will meet you at the departure gate”, sometime after that “Will meet you on the ‘plane?” Let’s just say that due to an accident on the M25 I was nearly doing the shoot myself. But he made it…..only just. After the flight we drove to Cahors where we arrived just before 8pm.

The next day started with a glorious drive through the French countryside where there are still enough sunflowers in bloom to give a good show.

Smiling sunflowers on the outskirts of Cahors

Smiling sunflowers on the outskirts of Cahors

We had a great day’s shoot at a stunning location that came through the lovely Simon Young, Jenny Vaughan and their team at RE found objects.  Then another drive through the French countryside, via Bergerac where the streets were draped with bunting to celebrate their Jazz festival

Bergerac en fete

Bergerac en fete

We arrived on the outskirts of Verteillac just in time for supper with Katie Elliot Armitage and her husband Mike. Kate is the brains and talent behind Les Soeurs Anglaises the company that runs residential craft and music workshops from this idyllic setting. Mike and Katie kindly put us up and when I woke up the following morning I found that the view from my bedroom window was stunning

what the early bird saw

what the early bird saw

We had the whole day to do our shots and interview and made the most of the location and the weather.

Looking out from the converted barn at Les Soeurs Anglaises

Looking out from the converted barn at Les Soeurs Anglaises

On Thursday it was time to leave. We nearly went into the supermarket rather than the airport, Bergerac is such a small airport that the entrance is between a shop and a cafe and there is only one departure lounge. But it was back to Blighty and the rain…still mustn’t complain!

 

 

All C-ing

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

C1. Coffee at Claridges with designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg to talk about their new ‘out of town’ home in Amagansett, a really amazing cantilevered house with walls of cedar louvres – to appear in the Times Magazine sometime soon.

Claridges Hotel with flags a flying

Claridges Hotel with flags a flying

C2, To Cambridgeshire and the village of St Neots where I visited the home of the creative couple behind Mineheart a British produced, art led company. Their home is a small cottage at the end of a row of similar dwellings, but the interior of theirs is like an artwork with painted and decorated walls.

St Neots station and building works

St Neots station and building works

and on a blackboard that disguises a TV one of the pair had written a few words of wisdom which, given the weather, I thought very apt.

Mineheart's words of wisdom..a thought for the day?

Mineheart’s words of wisdom..a thought for the day?

C3 A phone interview to Chelsea, New York to talk to industrial designer Karim Rashid about fatherhood and the new family home. His speech was a little slurred, not because of sleepless nights but because he had just got to his office after a long session at the dentist.

C4. Chelsea, London to recce the home of interior designer Fiona Barratt and her husband Sol Campbell. It was interesting to walk along the Embankment and through the maze of small back streets where every other building seems to have a Blue Plaque noting an historic resident or event.

Historic houses along Chelsea Embankment

Historic houses along Chelsea Embankment

C5 Cafe de Trois Garcons to have a flat white with Hassan and Michael, two of the three boys. The Trois Garcons empire has added yet another string to their bow full of achievements, a shop and cafe in the oh-so-trendy environs of Shoreditch. It was thought provoking talking to Hassan about the change in the area since they opened their first converted pub restaurant in 1996.

The recently opened Trois Garcons cafe and shop in Redchurch Street,  E2

The recently opened Trois Garcons cafe and shop in Redchurch Street, E2

C6 sounds like a hopper bus route, but perhaps is should be for Cor Blimey – that was a busy week?

Being a bit Silly

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm

In the last fortnight I have been from Shepherds Bush to Normandy and back. It started with afternoon tea at the home of Johnny Blueeyes, performance artist and stylist. At his colourful apartment in Shepherds Bush I was given a conducted tour which included a peep inside the gold chapel in his back garden where he stores the vintage clothes and costumes he uses to dress the likes of the Scissor Sisters and Lana del Rey. A few days later I caught up with Rients Bruinsma and viewed his wood panelled ex council flat and was very impressed by the transformation. So much so that we’ve booked in a shoot for the autumn. Then between meetings for a new book with Jacqui Small publishing, an exhibition project which involved taking advice from various friends and colleagues I managed to fit in a shoot in the wonderfully named French town of Silly, well Silly-en-Gouffern.

The trip was put together by APR Communications, a blissfully smooth and stress free two days, leaving City Airport on a Fokker F50 ( one of those little ‘planes that you feel you should pedal to help get off the ground) to Orly airport then a two hour drive to the town south of  Le Mans. With the help of the time difference and good weather we managed to get a good half of the shoot underway before staggering back to the hotel at 8.45pm

James at work with a skirtless madonna

James at work with a skirtless madonna

photographer James Balston and PR Annabel McAvoy making their way to the hotel

photographer James Balston and PR Annabel McAvoy making their way to the hotel

A 9am start the next day saw the job finished by 1pm, then it was back in the car, to the airport and home in London in time for supper.